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Goulotte del Pioda, Masino-Disgrazia mountain chain
Photo by archivio Mario Vannuccini
Goulotte del Pioda, Masino-Disgrazia mountain chain
Photo by archivio Mario Vannuccini
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Goulotte del Pioda, Gruppo Masino-Disgrazia, Italy

09.06.2011 by Planetmountain

On 19/05/2001 Giacomo Casiraghi and Mario Vannuccini carried out what is likely to be the first ascent of "Goulotte del Pioda" (III/WI2R, 75° 580m) on the remote West Face of Monte Pioda 3431m in the Masino-Disgrazia mountain chain, Italy.

A brief report about the probable first ascent of "Goulotte del Pioda" on the 3431m high Monte Pioda 3431m, in the Masino-Disgrazia mountain chain, carried out on 19 May by Mario Vannuccini together with Giacomo Casiraghi. The route is graded III/WI2R (75°), is 580m long and covers 430 vertical meters, and is described by the Mountain Guide as being "fun, with moderate difficulties, clearly visible from Val di Mello. In spring it is usually in good condition and the hardest section is the start, which appeared circa 20 years ago when the Pioda glacier retreated leaving fantastically compact sheet of granite. The route won't win the Piolet d'or, but it's certainly worth repeating!"

>> ROUTE TOPO Goulotte del Pioda

Monte Pioda: a bit of history
Monte Pioda 3431m, is described by the famous guidebooks Monti d’Italia as being simply a mighty WNE shoulder of Monte Disgrazia which "offers numerous interesting routes on the the western and northern flanks."

The first to reach its summit were Stephen and Anderegg on 20 August 1862, via the NW crest during their attempt to climb Monte Disgrazia directly from Chiareggio. It was then that the two alpinists sense that it could be climbed from the Val Masino side and they named Monte Pioda "Picco della Speranza", peak of hope. The route up Val di Mello and via Passo Cecilia opened the way to Monte Disgrazia which they summited together with Kennedy and Cox on 24 August.

The first alpinist to climb the west face was the extremely talented Christian Klucker who, in 1894 and in conditions probably completely different from today, reached the face after having navigated crevices. He then climbed past numerous difficult, smooth slabs to proceed on to the summit.

The northern flanks, once perennially covered in ice, proved to be an ideal terrain from Oreste Lenatti, a mountain guide who in the summers 1936 and 1937 established two difficult routes. This repulsive face welds onto Monte Disgrazia and forms an dark, uniform bastion with innumerable small gullies and was first climbed using the piolet-traction technique by Benigno Balatti and his wife Giovanna Cavalli on 22 May 1998: Couloir dei Sogni (couloir of dreams) is 80° steep, has some demanding mixed sections and tops out onto the NW ridge of Monte Disgrazia, not far from Sella di Pioda.

Mario Vannuccini
Sondrio Mountain Guide

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